The last thing you want to do is cause your flooring to warp or scratch.

By Nashia Baker
December 28, 2020
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Whether you are cleaning your kitchen cabinets and counters or scrubbing your bathtub, you likely have a routine for sanitizing and refreshing your most-touched surfaces down pat. But what about underfoot? Cleaning your hardwood floors can be difficult—wood can be finicky, and you don't want it to scratch or warp. Here, our experts share how to clean hardwood floors and get them looking as good as new.

Cleansing agents and wiper in kitchen
Credit: Getty / Westend61

Clean hardwood floors about once a week.

While it depends on how often you like to freshen up your home in general, Lou Manfredini, an Ace Hardware helpful expert, says a general rule of thumb is to clean hardwood floors once a week. "Of course, quick cleanup for spills is important—as letting liquids sit on wood floors for too long can damage the planks," he says.   

Another factor when determining how to clean hardwood floors? The foot traffic you have in your household—from little kids to pets. "The more foot traffic, the faster dirt, grime, and pet hair build up on your floors," says Mary Gagliardi, the Clorox in-house scientist and cleaning expert. "Dirt and grime, especially, can make your hardwood floors look dull. If this is the case, deep clean hardwood floors every two to four weeks."

Add sweeping and mopping to your routine.

To begin, Gagliardi suggests sweeping or vacuuming with a hard floor attachment to remove any loose dirt from the hardwood floors. After this step, combine one-fourth cup of Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner ($29, amazon.com) with a gallon of water. Mop wood floors with this solution (just make sure to avoid creating a liquid pool since this can warp and streak the floor). "Use a conventional mop (a mop with hands-free wringing makes the job even easier) or you can use a microfiber mop," she says. To clean and disinfect your floors in one step, you can also try Clorox Disinfecting Wet Mopping Cloths ($7.97, walmart.com) to trap particles, dirt, and hair.

Manfredini adds that you should avoid certain substances when cleaning the particular material. "While your grandmother may have used vinegar and water to clean, vinegar is an acid and long-term use will dull the floors," he says. Instead, use other natural-based solutions—like Bona No Scent Floor Cleaner Liquid ($10, acehardware.com). "Just spray, allow to stand for two minutes, and then mop it up," Manfredini shares. "No rinsing required."  

Remove any stains or scratches.

If you have any scratches on your hardwood floors, Manfredini recommends filling and coloring in the floors with stain sticks, like Dap Plastic Wood Red Wood Blend Sticks ($5, acehardware.com). "It will not be perfect, but it will be an improvement on what you have," he says. "If the scratches are in the finish, you can apply a new coating yourself over the entire floor." You will need to take the items out of the specific room that needs the finish for this process. After cleaning the floor, apply a finish coating, like Rejuvenate High Gloss Wood Floor Restorer Liquid ($23, acehardware.com), following the manufacturer's instructions. While there are a variety of finishes, Manfredini recommends the satin option.

It is just as simple to remove stains—but it does also depend on the state of your floor finish. "If your floor finish is in good condition, you can use full-strength Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner ($13.12, amazon.com) to remove stains," Gagliardi says. First apply the solution with a sponge or cloth on the stain. From there, use a toothbrush or sponge to scrub the stain, and then rinse the area with water. "Stains in areas where finish has worn away, if severe, may require sanding, re-staining and refinishing the floor, which requires a professional," she adds. Polishing and waxing can also add some shine and help minimize the scratches that could occur on your hardwood floors. To do this, Gagliardi says you will need to pick a product that is specifically made for hardwood. Next, simply follow the steps as outlined above on how to clean hardwood floors and then polish following the manufacturer's instructions.

Comments (2)

Anonymous
December 30, 2020
This is WRONG! If you use cleaners and bleaches the pH levels in the chemicals will interact with the pH levels of the wear layers and staining in the floor and will discolor you floor over time and will void the manufacture warranty of the floor. Using a 0 pH level cleaner is the best way to go. Check with your local flooring retailers and they should have cleaners for your floor that are back by flooring manufactures and will not affect the warranty.
Anonymous
December 30, 2020
This is WRONG! If you use cleaners and bleaches the pH levels in the chemicals will interact with the pH levels of the wear layers and staining in the floor and will discolor you floor over time and will void the manufacture warranty of the floor. Using a 0 pH level cleaner is the best way to go. Check with your local flooring retailers and they should have cleaners for your floor that are back by flooring manufactures and will not affect the warranty.